Oh yes, you know who I’m talking about.
That old battle-axe who made your life a living hell..!
Yup… the teacher or professor who took some kind of warped pleasure in loading you up with homework, term papers and pop quizzes — as if you had no other classes!
You couldn’t be “cute” or “B.S.” your way around THIS one. Nope, you were accountable for getting it all done…. no excuses, no “dog ate my homework,” — no nothing.
If you didn’t need the credits, you’d have dumped this class, like, immediately!
Oh… how you hated that class. And, how you hated that teacher. In fact, you vowed you’d never, ever turn into such a wretched person!
But, now, five, ten, twenty years later… who is the teacher you most remember?
Yup, you guessed it.
There she (he) is again, living high in your consciousness.
Why does this always happen..?
- Because this is the person who made you dig deep even when you didn’t want to.
- This is the person who forced you to realize a higher level of your own potential.
- This is the person, who, in hindsight, made you grow — both intellectually and emotionally.
Wait. What’s this have to do with my business..?
Good question. But, I have a reason for telling you this.
Recently, several health coaches and fitness trainers have called me to discuss strategies on how to work with clients who don’t want to do the work... or be held accountable. Yet maintain high expectations.
Let me explain:
It starts with our business proposition…
Have you ever thought about our basic business proposition?
As credible health coaches and/or fitness training professionals, we are asking people to pay us MONEY to do something they inherently DON’T want to do — eat right and exercise.
They would much prefer to by-pass that part and go straight to the fabulous results they see in all the ads.
After all, that eating and exercise part is really hard. And, it requires discipline and accountability. And, many of them just don’t think they can do it.
Do you see where this is going…?
Your clients are behaving much the same as school age kids. They want the results without putting in the work. Familiar… right?
Yes, the dynamics are different. Nonetheless, this is where you need to call on your own past experiences.
Channel the “battle-axe!”
When it comes to dealing with clients who exhibit “non-work, non-accountable behavior” it’s time to channel your old battle-axe teacher.
Yup, I know it’s difficult. Yes, I know that you might even lose a client or two.
But, listen, the trainers and other health professionals who have the most long-term, retained clients (5 to 10 years) are the toughest professionals I know.
They DEMAND accountability. They DEMAND that the work get done. They make sure their clients GET RESULTS.
That they ACHIEVE or EXCEED their own EXPECTATIONS!
Sometimes…That’s what it takes
Yes…for some clients, you need to become just like that old battle-axe who brought the “best” out of you!
And, if your clients refuse to comply, you should consider a way to politely retire them.
And when it works. . .
The clients you motivate to do the work… to hold themselves accountable will have you to thank. They will forever remember you as the ONE who made them dig deep.
The ONE who helped them reach their full potential.
The ONE who pushed the envelope physically, mentally and emotionally.
Good job you old battle-axe!
Some of my favorite strategies are the “upfront” policies where the clients are required to “prepare” for their training package. This strategy let’s them know right away that you’re serious about your profession and your protocol.
Upfront requirements also help to pre-qualify the level of motivation of your new client. If they are not able to achieve the upfront work, what are the chances they will able to comply with any of your programs?
For example, Mary Collins requires ALL new clients to self-enroll and complete the entire ONBOARD 101 in two weeks before she or any of her trainers start working with them. (The $99 fee is included in the training package). She says this to her clients:
Training you without a knowledge base is the equivalent to giving a 12-year old the keys to the car!”
Roger Hanson and his 3-trainer staff in upstate New York do the same thing with group classes held twice a week for 2 weeks (4 classes). They only offer one-on-one training at $125 per hour.
They consider it imperative that their clients are “prepped” before embarking on any kind of training program. Their curriculum is very similar to the 12-Week Outline.
Here’s what he tells his prospects:
I don’t want our trainers, or you, to be wasting time with questions or figuring out why you are being asked to perform an exercise a certain way.
We know we charge a premium for our expertise so we want this to be some of the highest quality time of your day. If we “Front Load” you with an education, you’ll be 10 times more prepared and motivated for the level of training you are about to receive.”
The Journal Deposit: One of our long-time fitness partners has used her Journal Deposit strategy for more than 15 years.
She requires each new client to purchase one of her 12-Week DAILY JOURNALS for $84 dollars. (12-weeks = 84 days)
Then, the first thing she does at the beginning of each session is to look and see if the Journal is completed for the appropriate days — even the non-workout days are checked for nutrition.
If the Journal forms are complete, she returns a dollar for each day completed.
Her clients love it because it motivates accountability with a reward — even if they are paying for it!
Long live the old battle-axes…!
- They will always achieve the best results.
- They will always attract the most motivated clients.
- They will always command premium pricing for their expertise.
– Art Rothafel
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